Letters To The Church

For the past several weeks I've been working my way through Francis Chan's latest book Letters To The Church. In it, Chan challenges stereotypes of the American church, calling for a group of Christians more in tune with Biblical priorities than consumer Christianity. None of this is new, as Christian thinker's have been bemoaning the state of the attraction-growth model Christianity for years. But what Chan does add to this conversation is a fresh, or perhaps an ancient, appreciation of the Biblical emphasis on priorities that while not ground-breaking, is a timely reminder all wrapped up in just over 200 easy to read pages. I highly recommend reading this book, partly because it does not simply deconstruct the church as is, but replaces current practice with simple suggestions that are both practical and Biblical. The following are some excerpts that I found convicting: "My fellow elders and I repented...(when) we realized that there were many in our congregation we didn't expect much of....
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Q Podcast: Getting Along, Despite Differences – Oz Guinness

Chances are good that you have been asking yourself, "Is civility dead?" Any time spent on social media will likely make you wish that people, especially people who hold your own views, would master the art of being generous and courteous in their discussions, or not say (or post) anything at all. Most of the time when folks engage in difficult topics, we all end of looking like this classic photo from the movie 12 Angry Men. One of the podcast's I (John) have found helpful, challenging, and socially relevant over the past several years is The Q Podcast. This podcast highlights a spectrum of views on hot-button social issues and to use their tagline, Stay Curious. Think Well. Advance Good. Using a Ted-Talk type approach to presentations, the speakers on this podcast have recently covered topics including titles like "Post-Election Reflections" and "How Do I Love and Support My Gay Friends." Speakers on these podcasts range from long-time Christian radio preacher...
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The Man Who Invented Christmas

Our family just re-watched 2017 holiday movie The Man Who Invented Christmas and loved it. Now, to be fair, The Thompson Family have read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens from beginning to end on or around Christmas day for the last five years, so we are fans, but often movies are never as a good as the book. In fact, I usually tell folks, "Don't judge a book by its movie!" The Man Who Invented Christmas is the exception! First of all, it's not a direct book to movie re-telling, as it focuses on the complicated personal life of Dickens as he writes what has been come to known as one of the great pieces of literature. Because of this unique perspective, we see Dickens picking famous lines out of everyday conversations with family members, servants, upper-crust socialites, loan-sharks, and street-people. The concept works beautifully, especially if you recognize the characters and quotes as they appear. While not a "Christian" film, this beautiful...
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Songs of The Common Prayer

Songs of Common Prayer: Greg LaFollette This album has been haunting me. Not because it is a masterpiece, or a creative piece of art. Don't get me wrong, the music is crisp and professional, but nothing about it screams I STAND APART AND CHANGE THE PARADIGM OF CULTURE IN THE WESTERN WORLD. However, what the album does do is create a safe space to think, pray, and mediate on some of the most common prayers of the Christian tradition. And maybe that in and of itself is unique, a musician not afraid to put a new twist on old words, to freshen up Orthodox liturgies without indie influenced instrumentation or arrangements. Whatever the reason, the album has been on almost non-stop in our home for the past week. Give it a listen.   https://open.spotify.com/album/07uDxYbS8pkDsBIX3vmYEA...
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